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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • 2nd indictment charges former PA Senator Raphael J. Musto

  • The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of
    Pennsylvania announced today that a second superseding indictment has
    been returned against former State Senator Raphael J. Musto,
    Pennsylvania 14th Senatorial District. This new indictment amends
    previous charges brought against Senator Musto, who is currently
    scheduled for trial on January 6, 2014.
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  • The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of
    Pennsylvania announced today that a second superseding indictment has
    been returned against former State Senator Raphael J. Musto,
    Pennsylvania 14th Senatorial District. This new indictment amends
    previous charges brought against Senator Musto, who is currently
    scheduled for trial on January 6, 2014.  
           
    According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Senator
    Musto, age 85, of Pittston, was originally charged in an indictment
    in November 2011. Those charges alleged that Senator Musto accepted
    $25,000 cash payment from a construction contractor whom had
    developed various properties in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.
    Senator Musto accepted the $25,000 in cash, as well as other things
    of value from the contractor, as part of a stream of benefits
    designed to secure Senator Musto’s continued support of various
    construction projects which were to the financial benefit of the
    company.     
     
    In addition, Senator Musto was alleged to have accepted
    thousands of dollars in cash from another individual affiliated with
    Northeast Pennsylvania municipal authorities.  That cash payment was
    accepted by Senator Musto as a reward for prior official action taken
    by the senator where he assisted the municipal authorities obtain
    loans and grants. In addition, Senator Musto accepted these funds
    intending to be influenced in his future official decisions.  
     
    In October 2012, the original indictment was superseded by a
    grand jury to include two new charges of public corruption. In 2006,
    Senator Musto is alleged to have accepted $1,000 and other benefits
    from an individual affiliated with a municipality in return for his
    assistance with passing through a loan application for the
    municipality. Senator Musto is alleged to have done the same, for the
    same individual, in 2008, again in return for his assistance with the
    passage of a loan application for local municipalities.  
     
    The Indictment returned Wednesday amended portions of this
    indictment to include a broader array of things of value provided to
    Senator Musto and changed one of the charges in the indictment.  
        
    In October 2012, attorneys for Senator Musto filed a motion with
    the court to dismiss the pending charges, or to indefinitely postpone
    the trial, because of Senator Musto’s physical health. The government
    objected to this request and Senior United States District Court
    Judge A. Richard Caputo agreed. The defense appealed this decision to
    Page 2 of 2 - the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court denied the
    appeal and on October 22, 2013, the case was returned to Judge Caputo
    who scheduled it for trial on January 6, 2014.   
         
    On November 15, 2013, Senator Musto filed a renewed motion with
    the court to indefinitely postpone the trial. In this latest motion,
    the defense has identified the senator’s deteriorating physical
    health as well was his mental competency to stand trial as reasons
    for the trial postponement. The United States has not agreed with
    this request and will be filing a response asking Judge Caputo to
    schedule a hearing where the defense will be required to prove that
    Senator Musto is unable to withstand trial and/or assist his
    attorneys.   
     
    This case is part of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of
    Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service and is being
    prosecuted by a team of federal prosecutors led by Senior Litigation
    Counsel Gordon Zubrod and includes Assistant U.S. Attorneys William
    Houser, Michael Consiglio, Amy Phillips John Gurganus and Criminal
    Division Chief Christian Fisanick.
     
    Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All
    persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found
    guilty in court.
     

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